Legs over High Tor, Matlock, 1975
Born in 1941 in Ludlow, Shropshire, Paul Hill worked as a newspaper reporter from the late 1950s until he became a freelance photographer in 1965. As a photojournalist he worked for the Birmingham Post & Mail, The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph Magazine, and the BBC, amongst others.
He became a full-time lecturer in photography at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham in 1974 where he was later appointed head of the Creative Photography course, the forerunner to all current student-centred higher education courses in the medium. Another notable achievement around this time was the establishment, with his wife, Angela, of The Photographers’ Place – the UK’s first residential photography workshop - at their Peak District home.
He has exhibited regularly since 1970 throughout the British Isles, Europe, North America, Japan and Australasia and is co- author (with Thomas J. Cooper) of Dialogue with Photography (1979/2005), Approaching Photography (1982/2004), and White Peak Dark Peak (1990) and Corridor of Uncertainty (2010). His work is in the art collections of, amongst others, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford; Arts Council England; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm; Australian National Gallery, Canberra ; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Cleveland Museum of Art in the USA.
A former member of the Arts Council’s first photography committee in the 1970s,he helped set up the trend-setting Derby Festival of Photography in 1991 and was a director of East Midlands Arts for four years during the nineties.
A major influence on contemporary British photography, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1990 and, four years later, was awarded an MBE by The Queen for services to photography. Between 1995 and 2010 he was a professor at De Montfort University, Leicester, where he was joint leader of the MA in Photography course. Birmingham City Archives, which houses one of the country’s major collections of photographs, acquired the Paul Hill/ Photographers’ Place Archive in 2004. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Art by Derby University in 2011 and De Montfort University in 2012.
‘Hill tackles life’s big subjects but his approach is oblique, evocative, always pointing beyond, which is why he moves us. If a camera could capture poetry, this might well be what it would look like.’ The Guardian (6th September 2008)